Is your hair going grey? You probably expected it to happen since it happens to everyone eventually. But curious minds want to know why they’ve made their appearance. Whether your greys came in gradually or popped up overnight, leaving you perplexed, we can help. In this article, we'll introduce you to several factors that contribute to grey hair. Let's get right into it!
You're Just Getting Older
As we age, our hair gradually changes from brown, black, blonde, or red to silver or grey. And we'll tell you why. Cells in our hair follicles produce hair pigment, or melanin, which gives our hair its color. Over time, the follicular cells produce less and less melanin until the hair turns gray. It's just how life goes, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Your Genes Are to Blame
Melanin-loss in hair happens quicker for some than others, and the speed at which it occurs depends on your genetic makeup. If your parents or grandparents started going grey early, you may too. Researchers have identified several genes associated with early-onset grey hair, one of which is gene IRF4. People with this gene marker tend to go grey earlier than those without it. If this is the reason behind your graying hair, your only option to get rid of the grey is to color your hair.
Your Hormones are Out of Whack
The most common hormone responsible for gray hair is adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone your body produces when you’re under stress; it has been shown to inhibit melanin production. So, if you're noticing more gray hairs popping up, it could be due to stress in your life.
Both hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormones) and hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones) can lead to an overall decrease in melanin levels, leading to premature greying. High levels of estrogen can have the same effect.
A medical professional is needed to diagnose and treat hormonal issues - make an appointment if you think your hormones are out of whack.
Your Diet is Lacking Essential Vitamins
One of the most common dietary deficiencies that can lead to grey hair is a shortage of vitamin B12. This vitamin is commonly found in fish, eggs, milk, and meat. If you have a deficiency in vitamin B12, you'll need to make some dietary changes or take supplements to get your B-12 levels back up. Other nutrient deficiencies responsible for graying hair include vitamin D3 and calcium.
You've Got a Medical Disorder
An autoimmune disorder called vitiligo is one of the main medical illnesses that can cause grey hair. Vitiligo is a condition where the immune system attacks the skin’s pigment cells. This can lead to patches of skin with no color and can also affect the hair follicles, causing them to produce grey or white hair.
Another medical illness that can cause grey hair is alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes patchy hair loss. People with this disorder suddenly see more grays pop up because the disorder primarily targets non-gray hair. With less non-gray hair, the person's grays suddenly become more noticeable.
If you suspect that you have a medical disorder, we recommend seeing a doctor as soon as you can. They may be able to help you resolve your underlying condition - and who knows - the right treatment may stop or reverse the graying process.
We hope that this article was helpful to you, and we wish you the best with your hair!
Author: Andrea Reyes
Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.